McKinsey vs. Cornerstone

Hi All!

I'm trying to decide between economic consulting (offers from Cornerstone and Analysis Group) and management consulting (offer from OW, currently interviewing with BCG, final rounds with McKinsey). Any insight on projects, lifestyle, exit opps, and grad school placement would be greatly appreciated!


I know a guy at my MBA program (T-15) who was at a pretty well known Econ Consulting firm before MBA. He said the work was mostly for litigation support, frequently estimating damages in patent lawsuits. Lifestyle was OK, essentially no travel and work hours were around 50-60 per week. Exit ops weren't very diverse, he said most people just stuck around with the firm because the skills you develop are very niche.

He ended up recruiting for IB internships and is sticking with it full-time despite a really big offer to come back to his old job.

Is there anyone working in either area that could shed some light on the work and how they like it? Both seem to frequently lead to exits to bschool, does anyone know whether a Cornerstone would be better for bschool exit opps or would OW?

MBB will open exponentially more doors for you in the long run than econ consulting. Econ consulting is a very niche area, so people generally either move up, or go to b-school (places like Cornerstone and NERA have great b-school placement...but McKinsey trumps them all).

Thanks for your help! I'm thinking about corporate strategy LT, but definitely plan to do B-school between either option. I love the high level problem solving of consulting, but the travel is a real drawback for me - but I don't want to be blocked out of exit ops in areas like corporate strategy. Thoughts?

Best Response

If you're planning to go to b-school, you should have no problem parlaying econ consulting experience into M/B/B or another in-house strategy role at a company. I did five years in EC for two firms (one well known, one boutique) before MBA, so could probably help if you have specific questions about the role/culture etc. I guess the one thing I'd say in favor of the mgmt consultancies is IF you think you might want to return to consulting post-MBA, a lot of these places will sponsor your tuition for boomerang candidates. That's a decent chunk of change and I saw a lot of former consultants in my class sign to go back to M/B/B/atk etc just because the incentive to graduate without any loans was too tempting. I'm not aware of any econ consultancies that will do this, although there are probably some boutiques that you could convince.

Post MBA, I think your opportunity set will be similar out of either track. Frankly you'll have a much stronger valuation background from the EC's (you'll be way ahead of the ex-bankers on modelling tbh), so I think it was an easier move from EC to a financey type role (IB/AM/HF) than it was for the former mgmt consultants. That doesn't necessarily sound like your desired path though...

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